The Musée Granet is hosting an exhibition of Harry Callahan's work in partnership with the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris).
In 1956, the photographer Harry Callahan (1912-1999), who was then head of the photography department at the Institute of Design in Chicago, received a grant from the Graham Foundation. He set off for Europe and stayed in Aix-en-Provence from September 1957 to July 1958. He shot a series of studies of urban views, nature and countless portraits of his wife Eleanor whilst here. Whilst revisiting his archives 36 years later, Harry Callahan selected 130 snapshots from the time, labelled “French Archives”, and donated them all to the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP). These photographs were first exhibited at the MEP between November 9th 2016 and January 29th 2017 then at the Musée de la Photographie de Charleroi between May 13th and September 24th 2017. The Musée Granet now wants to introduce them to Aix's locals and visitors.
The photographs show Aix in the late 1950s, a small European town with narrow streets and humble shops. In these sunny streets, the photographer found the ideal theatre for his work on shadow and light, and on the graphic design of ordinary façades. As for his nature studies, some of them were shot in the garden at the house Callahan lived in on the road to Cézanne's beloved Sainte-Victoire Mountain. He remained true to his minimalist approach to landscapes. The images shot in Aix-en-Provence delve deeper into the detailed research and aesthetic themes explored in the photographer's previous work: the relationship with the city and architecture, photos of the streets with fleeting silhouettes, the minimalist approach to nature and, of course, the constant presence of his wife Eleanor. Based on Harry Callahan's testimonial, his time in Aix was a happy and joyful time.